Maddison makes stylish amends
Last weekend, James Maddison felt compelled to issue an apology to his team-mates after being sent off for diving, but yesterday felt like payback from the £21 million signing whose brilliant individual goal ensured Leicester secured their first Premier League home win since September 22.
Taking the ball beautifully from Marc Albrighton’s crossfield pass, he advanced towards goal and took advantage of Adrian Mariappa’s attempted clearance to crash a volley past Ben Foster. It was a magical moment, and when Leicester can play like this, it is a mystery that they have waited so long to win in front of their own fans.
“James was very upset with himself [for getting a red card last week] and wanted to make a strong game to give to his team-mates a good performance,” said Leicester manager Claude Puel.
“It was a fantastic goal. We played against a direct opponent, and we are close in the table, so it is difficult, but we managed it well.”
Watford’s excellent start to the season must feel like some time ago, with their worrying run now two wins from the past 10 games. Their afternoon of frustration was complete when Etienne Capoue was sent off for a foul on Kelechi Iheanacho in the final minute.
Leicester’s opening goal came after Ben Chilwell’s pass released Jamie Vardy, who was taken out in the area by Foster, presenting referee Graham Scott with a simple decision.
Vardy’s penalty was equally simple as he directed the ball into the bottom left corner with Foster diving the other way.
In a refreshingly open game, both teams attacked with verve and pace, but Leicester increased their lead in the 23rd minute after Maddison’s outstanding strike put them in control.
Javi Gracia, the Watford manager, introduced Troy Deeney and Andre Gray early in the second half, perhaps sensing that Leicester still appeared vulnerable defensively. Gray missed two decent chances, and Watford could not find the crucial breakthrough.
Capoue was given a straight red card for a dangerous two-footed challenge on Iheanacho in the final minute to seal a miserable afternoon.
Gracia plans to appeal against the decision. “It was in front of me, and Iheanacho said he didn’t touch him. That’s more important than what I say. We dominated possession, we had 62 per cent but it wasn’t enough. We need to improve these situations.”
Super strike: James Maddison is about to pull the trigger and shoot Leicester 2-0 up